Pew Poll Says Men More Likely to Experience Online Harassment

AFP / Saeed Khan
AFP / Saeed Khan

A new study by the Pew Research Center claims that men are more likely to experience harassment online than women.

A new online harassment report from the Pew Research Center shows that men receive more harassment overall on the internet than women. The report opens by listing some overall statistics gathered from internet users:

A new, nationally representative Pew Research Center survey of 4,248 U.S. adults finds that 41% of Americans have been personally subjected to harassing behavior online, and an even larger share (66%) has witnessed these behaviors directed at others.

The report states that of those that said they had experience harassment online themselves, all of them said that they were the victim of at least one of these attacks online:

  • 27% of internet users have been called offensive names
  • 22% have had someone try to purposefully embarrass them
  • 10% have been physically threatened
  • 7% have been stalked
  • 7% have been harassed for a sustained period
  • 6% have been sexually harassed

While women experience more sexual harassment online, with 21% of young women claiming to have been sexually harassed compared to 9% of young men, men overall receive more harassment on the internet. The report states:

44% of men and 37% of women have experienced at least one of the six behaviors this study uses to define online harassment. In terms of specific experiences, men (30%) are modestly more likely than women (23%) to have been called offensive names online or to have received physical threats (12% vs. 8%).

Men and women are also divided on how online harassment should be handled:

Attitudes toward different policies to prevent online harassment also differ somewhat by gender. Men are more likely than women to believe that improved policies and tools from online companies are the most effective approach to addressing online harassment (39% vs. 31%). Meanwhile, women are more likely to say that stronger laws against online harassment are the most effective approach (36% vs. 24%), and they are also more likely to feel that law enforcement currently does not take online harassment incidents seriously enough (46% vs. 39%).

Those surveyed had differing perceptions of how online platforms are used, 89% of users agreed that online platforms allow people to be more openly critical of others.  86% agreed that online environments allow for more anonymity than in the real world.

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected as it originally linked to Pew’s 2014 study on internet harassment instead of the 2017 study. This story now links to the current study and statistical differences have been corrected.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan_ or email him at


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